Thursday, November 19, 2009


in honor of new moon premiering tonight,  here is a post about werewolves :-D

first thing is first - lets learn some historical words for man and for wolf:

old english:
man (a male specifically) - wer
wolf - wulf

man (i.e. human) - άνθρωπος (athropos)
wolf - λύκος (lykos)

wolf - lupus (giving us lupine, similar to canine for dog or feline for cat)

from these it is easy to see where "werewolf" comes from. there is another common term, lycanthrope, which combines the lyk- prefix of the greek lykos with the -anthrope suffix (philanthrope is a anthrope-phile) to mean the same 'wolfman' concept. this word an also be used to describe a mental illness where somebody thinks they have been turned into an animal (not necessarily a wolf) or the act of turning someone into a wolf through supernatural means.

this sheds light for any underworld fans wondering why the werewolves were called "lycans" (no to be confused with algae-like lichen). this may be either an abbreviation of lycanthrope, or it may refer to lycaon, a greek king who was turned into the first werewolf by zeus.

last useful tidbit - the french refer to werewolves as "loup-garou" and the spanish, "hombre lobo"

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